Andalusian Songwriting Retreats
Set in the heart of the Spanish mountains, our Andalusian songwriting retreats are the ultimate songwriting experience
Martin Sutton is the founder of The Songwriting Academy and multi-platinum songwriter and producer. Starting as a young busker on the streets of Norwich, he spent years developing the craft of songwriting, traveling the world to work with other writers, learning about the music business and honing his production skills. He is now a successful songwriter/producer and has sold millions of records in nearly 50 countries around the world.
His work includes Backstreet Boys, LeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion, Gary Barlow, Pixie Lott, Mark Owen, Olivia Newton-John, Andrew Roachford, Brian McFadden, Lulu, Mike & The Mechanics, K-Pop superstars Super Junior and X-Factor/Idol winners worldwide.
His teaching methodology and ethos have been described as “life-changing” by many of his students and over the years he has shared his knowledge and experience with thousands, opening their eyes to the world of professional music making. His diverse programming and production skills are widely sought after, from orchestration for Celine Dion and Andrew Lloyd Webber to quirky programming and beat-making for K-Pop/J-Pop artists, and rich country productions for artists including LeAnn Rimes.
Over the past two decades two-time Grammy nominated Kim Richey has released six critically acclaimed albums, been listed in the “Top 10 Albums of 1999” in Time Magazine for her album Glimmer, received 4-stars in Rolling Stone and named “Alt-Country Album of the Year” in People Magazine for her album Rise.
She has written two #1 singles and four other Top 10 records. Her songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gretchen Peters, James Morrison, Jamie Lawson and many others.
Her songs have been featured in film and television over the years, ranging from recent placements in Nashville (3 songs) and Bones to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Little Liars and many more. Kim’s latest album “Thorn In My Heart” made the best of lists of 2013 by No Depression and The Boston Globe.
Ian Dench was the guitarist and principal songwriter in the band EMF, who scored a major international hit with the song “Unbelievable” reaching number 1 in the United States.
He co-wrote the duet “Beautiful Liar” for Beyonce and Shakira for which he won an Ivor Novello award in the Best Selling British Song Category in 2008. Beyonce’s album “I Am… Sasha Fierce” saw a further three Dench songs: “Disappear”, “Ave Maria”, and “Satellites”. Other hits include “Tattoo” for American Idol winner Jordan Sparks, “Red” a top 5 UK hit for Daniel Merriweather and “Gypsy” from Shakira’s “She Wolf” album.
Ian also spent 2 years as Vice President of A&R at Epic Records in New York so has a unique experience of songwriting from both sides of the table. He is a hugely popular mentor at the Songwriting Retreats, always offering advice, support and encouragement in equal measures.
Chris Neil is a multi platinum producer and songwriter. He began his career as the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair in London’s West End. After a short period as a recording artist he moved into record production and swiftly became one of the most respected producers in the industry.
In his career he has produced classic records for artists including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Mike & The Mechanics, Cher, Jose Carreras, Andrew Lloyd Weber and many more. Chris is also a multi-platinum writer, having written hits such as “All I Need Is A Miracle” for Mike & The Mechanics. His knowledge and attention to detail as a producer are unparalleled and he is renowned for his remarkable talent in vocal production.
Jeff Franzel is a multi talented songwriter jazz pianist with over 35 years experience in the music business and is currently living in NYC.. He began as a jazz pianist and toured with many groups including The Hues Corporation (Rock The Boat) and Les Brown big band. Jeff accompanied such artists as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, and Mel Torme.
Jeff has over 250 of his songs recorded and has sold over 30 million records. He has had over 20 top ten singles internationally and travels to London, Sweden, LA and Nashville to co-write with artists and songwriters.
Jeff’s first big hit was “Don’t Rush Me” which was #2 pop hit. He has written songs for such diverse artists as Josh Groban, Placido Domingo, “NSYNC (2 Christmas songs) , Shawn Colvin (two film songs including Never Saw Blue Like That), Clay Aiken, Louise – (All That Matters), The Temptations and Dianne Reeves.
Jeff has had a number of his songs in film and TV including Runaway Bride, Serendipity, De Ja Vu, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Barbershop 2.
Jeff currently has songs coming out with Rhys Lewis on Decca Records, Hayley Westenra, Persons of Interest, Elvis Blue-South Africa , Falipa-South Africa, and BoA – Japan.
Jeff is a Yamaha artist and performs solo piano regularly in NYC.
Philadelphian born Soul Singer Ivy Chanel’s talent knows no limits. She regularly mesmerizes audiences with her soulful melodic voice. Part African American, French and Native American (Cherokee & Blackfoot) singer, songwriter, top-liner, producer, and vocal coach now London based is unleashing her unique vocal style and uplifting songs in the UK.
Simon Cowell instantly became a fan of Ivy’s voice and her tutoring skills. Ivy has tutored performers from X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice as well as many major label stars around the world.
She has performed for President Clinton, Tony Blair and shared the stage with legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder, John Legend and her brother, Hip Hop legendary DJ Cash Money.
Ivy is no stranger to the UK music scene having won Best Compilation Award 2005 at the UMA’s (Ivy’s vocals feature on the lead single ‘It’s a Music Thing’ – Union Black), Ivy also released ‘Wind Blows’ in 2012 which hit number 1 on Amazon’s UK New Release Chart and was included on Giles Peterson’s infamous ‘Brownswood Bubbler Seven’ compilation album.
Ivy believes that music is the second universal language and her singing ability is a gift to the world from Creator. Within her music and vocal lessons, she promotes Love to help and inspire others to walk into their purpose.
Mark Cawley is a U.S multi platinum hit songwriter and musician who, during his decades in the music business has procured a long list of cuts on the Pop, Country, R&B, Jazz, and Rock charts. He has sold over 16 million records with legendary artists ranging from Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross to Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Russ Taff, Paul Carrack, Will Downing and The Spice Girls. Nashville based Mark is also a contributing author to USA Songwriting and Songwriter Magazine, a popular blogger and has a wealth of experience as a songwriting coach, making him the perfect addition to The Songwriting Academy team!
Maria is a multi platinum award winning songwriter and artist with hit songs recorded by global artists including Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, N’Sync and many placements in Disney films and TV shows including Girl Meets World and Stuck In The Middle.
Originally from South Florida by way of Pittsburgh, PA, Her strong voice caught the ear of Grammy award winning producer Ric Wake, who produced such artists as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Taylor Dane and moved her to New York to record with him. The result was her self-titled album on Atlantic Records.
At that time she co wrote with some of the most successful songwriters in New York and she honed her own skills as a songwriter and began to place songs with many successful artists. This lead to a publishing deal with “Notation Music Publishing”.
Her songs have been recorded by artists including Celine Dion (“Just a Little Bit of Love” and “Christmas Eve”) both on which she also lent backing vocals, and N’SYNC (“The Only Gift”).
Later she was signed to A&M Records as the lead singer of the group 3rd Party for which she co-wrote the song “Waiting for Tonight” with TSA mentor Michael Garvin. The song went on to become a top 5 Billboard charting worldwide hit for Jennifer Lopez.
Her music can also be heard in films and TV. shows such as “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”, “Drumline” “Kiss me Guido” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”.
Recently she placed two songs on the hit Disney film “Lemonade Mouth”. From there she cultivated a relationship that resulted with song placements in other Disney TV. shows such as “Austin and Ally” and “Jessie”.
Her Christmas song “Favorite Time of Year” was feature at the Macy’s Day parade last year as performed by Debby Ryan.
She also wrote the theme song for Disney’s hit TV. show Girl Meets World, called Take on The World and current has the single Lucky Me with up coming young country artist Tegan Marie, She recently landed the theme song for new Disney show “ Stuck in the Middle “.
Based in Germany, Mark Smith has been involved in 9 No. 1 Albums, 20+ gold and platinum awards, 100+ releases and over 8 million record sales. He has written and produced many winners of Pop Idol, Popstars, Star Academy, Star Search and The Voice.
Mark is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who started in the early 90s as singer songwriter with over 1000 gigs in his twenties, is a well known studio musician in Germany and hugely popular songwriter and producer all over the world. He is also very well connected within the German music business and record companies.
As a staunch supporter of new talent and a passion for helping others, Mark is the perfect choice to be the driving force behind The Songwriting Academy Germany which will be opening for business in September 2017.
Now based in Los Angeles, New Zealand born Pam Sheyne’s career has resulted in a number of globally recognised hit records, major film end titles, sales of 50+ million records, 100+ platinum, gold and silver sales certifications, 7 BMI Pop airplay citations and a prestigious Ivor Novello award.
Whilst best known for the global breakthrough single “Genie In A Bottle” for Christina Aguilera (No.1 USA Hot 100/No.1 UK), she was also responsible for Dream’s debut hit “He Loves U Not” (USA No.2 Hot 100/No.1 Soundscan) as well as Jessica Simpson’s “Irresistible” (No.15 USA Hot 100).
Her songs have been covered by a number of international artists including Seal, Corrine Bailey Rae, The Backstreet Boys, O Town, Nick Lachey, Laura Pausini, Hayley Westenra, Lindsay Lohan, Eternal, Play, No Angels, Cece Winans, Point of Grace and The Saturdays.
Michael Garvin is a Grammy nominee and multi platinum writer of 22 No.1 hit songs including “Waiting For Tonight” (Jennifer Lopez) and “Never Give Up On A Good Thing” (George Benson).
Not only has he written global hits for the pop market but is also a highly respected figure in the country market, having written hits for Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette and George Strait, amongst many others.
He is a well-loved mentor at the Songwriting Retreats and an avid supporter of new talent. Michael was recently the second “most added playlist” artist on the Billboard charts with his jazz guitar instrumental project.
Multi-million selling songwriter Bill Padley has written and produced 4 UK and international number 1 records, including Atomic Kitten’s “Whole Again” and Holly Valance’s “Kiss Kiss”, as well as winning the prestigious Ivor Novello award for Shayne Ward’s “That’s my Goal”.
He has also had 3 other Ivor Novello nominations and 4 Brit Award nominations. Other writing and production credits include Blue, Ronan Keating, Westlife, Donna Summer, Gary Barlow, Liberty X and many others.Bill has also had vast experience and success in the world of Radio & T.V Jingles, themes and sonic imaging for over 30 years. Radio stations like BBC Radio 1, Capital F.M, Radio Clyde,Virgin Radio and countless others round the world have benefited from jingles and imaging written and produced by Bill, as have brands like British Telecom, Safeway, TSB, Barclays and literally hundreds of others who have utilised Bill’s skills in marrying a catchy melody with a great production for their jingles on TV and Radio.
Top of the Pops 2, and the Radio 1 top 40 amongst others had their themes written and produced by Bill. His technical abilities as a producer and mixer are many & varied: He is a renowned ‘power user’ of ProTools having been a long term beta tester for Digidesign.
Bill’s background of over 25 years in British Commercial & BBC Radio (as an on-air presenter at Radio Victory, Radio Clyde, BBC London GLR, and many more) gives him a rare affinity for balancing the demands of the medium with musical & artistic requirements. Bill now lives in Marbella, Spain and runs TALK RADIO EUROPE, where he also presents a daily show.
Paddy Byrne is a multi million selling British songwriter, musician and producer known for working in a variety of genres with multi platinum and developing artists alike such as Snakehips, Paloma Faith, Ella Eyre, Tom Grennan, Olly Murs, Will Young, Gabrielle, Sinead Harnett, Daley, Devlin, Felon, Watermat, I Blame Coco and Mononoke.
His focus is always on the song, the artist’s vision and their vocal. He is as accomplished when writing and producing an entire song as he is writing lyrics and top line for other productions.
Paddy started his professional career writing and singing in his band ‘Byrne’ gaining widespread acclaim for their self produced album ‘Slowly & Gloriously’, receiving unanimously positive reviews including 9/10 in NME, 4/5 UNCUT and 5/5 Observer Music Monthly.
Following the birth of his first son he stopped touring and set up his studio and began co-writing and producing. His journey from the indi scene as an artist to co-creating in more commercial genres was immediately successful working with Will Young on four songs for his album ‘Let It Go’. His experience as a lead singer and writer gives him a deep affinity with artists and a love of vocal expression and lyric.
He has written and produced many multi platinum selling songs and is currently working with a wide variety of established and up and coming artists, writers and producers.
Darling Buds Farm, Bethersden, Ashford, Kent, TN26 3EQ
Ever wondered what it would be like to live the life of a professional songwriter? Here’s your chance to experience it.
Our Andalusian songwriting retreats allow you to experience an incredible week of songwriting collaborations, with in-depth professional tutoring and mentoring from platinum record-selling mentors. Our venue is a beautifully restored hamlet just one hour from Malaga in Spain, set amongst beautiful scenery next to a stunning lake with views of the rolling mountains and only 30 minutes from the beach.
Whether you’re new to songwriting or a veteran looking to learn the secrets of getting your songs into the charts, the songwriting retreat is the perfect solution.
Spend the week learning advanced songwriting techniques and putting them into practice every day in co-writing sessions. These sessions are guided by our hit songwriters who will work closely with you throughout the writing process. Learn the secrets of the industry, find out how to take your songs further than before, and discover how to make a fulfilling and rewarding career out of songwriting.
Throughout the week, we’ll keep you up to date with the artists who are currently on the lookout for new songs. You’ll be able to learn how to work on your songs via a brief from these artists, receiving guidance from our mentors throughout.
Each night during the playback and feedback sessions, our camera crew will film every new song as a live performance, so you’ll have an incredible memento to remember the trip by. After you’ve performed, the mentors will give you invaluable tips on how to continue crafting your song to make it the very best it can be.
Although the retreat is a fantastic learning experience, it’s not all work, work, work. One of the keys to successful songwriting is busting through stress and relaxing when writing. Not only does this remove writer’s block and other barriers to writing; it also reminds you that music should be fun. That’s why we spend time chilling out by the pool, relaxing with a party night and experience a few other surprises along the way! We’ll also have on-site chefs that prepare breakfast, lunch and evening meals which we’ll be eating fiesta-style in our very own street!
The venue is the perfect setting to relax, get away from it all and let yourself be inspired by the character, charm and tranquillity of this incredible opportunity.
What’s included on the course?
We’ll cover your accommodation and food, but you’ll have to plan your flights. We would sort your travel for you if we could, but since we have songwriters joining us from around the world, managing the travel for every member would be extremely complicated (if not impossible!).
Can I get my own room or do I have to share?
You can book your own room, but you’ll need to let us know in advance so we can ensure there’s space. Please get in touch with us by email or call us on 03300 100500.
An enormous amount of information and tips to take away, digest and act upon!
Dominic King… Absolutely Inspirational!!!! Almost did not take up this session, wanted to play it save, but thank God I didn’t !!! Risk aversion you’re a bloody thief. Thanks
10/10 – I really enjoyed the day and look forward to the Bootcamp
Just when I thought it could not get any more inspirational, I have another mentoring session with Luc Floreani!
Great organisation and inspiring evening
The day went far too quickly
rocket fuel for the soul
So enjoyed my mentoring session with Mark Cawley yesterday – from now on I will be hanging out in bookshops looking shady – thanks mark x
I’ve finally found myself and my confidence has come back! That is down to what The Songwriting Academy has done for me and given me the boost I needed. I can’t thank you enough
epic PR mentoring session with Luc Floreani last night!!!!!
10/10 – Well worth the travel. I would do it all over tomorrow. I feel a lot more confident now with what I’ve learned.
Wonderful uplifting day restoring faith in my path
Just had a fantastic mentoring session with Martin, my first on my platinum membership! Feel completely boosted and grinning away ready to take this year by the horns! Positivity all the way
The passion of all the lecturers was amazing to see. The sharing of their life experiences that enabled them to get a career in the industry was inspirational and has made me reinforce in my mind it’s truly possible for me!
Thank you so much for this weekend, really was such a fantastic experience. I’ve learnt so much that I wasn’t able to sleep all last night thinking about it.
Had a great and informative mentoring session with Mark Cawley, nice guy, had some interesting left of field ideas for me to try. Thanks Mark
Fantastic mentoring session with Martin Sutton today, thank you Martin! Great feedback as always
Great first mentoring session with Martin. Really encouraging, helpful in establishing focus and with so many things to takeaway.
Just finished an awesome mentoring session with Charlie Charlie Dore what an inspiration you are Charlie. Thank you for all the excellent advice and guidance.
Thanks for a great day & for inspiring me to #makeithappen along with discovering some crazy improve skills!
Another superb mentoring session today with @lovesongwriting “I really like the emotion and honesty in the song” 🙂
Just had my first mentoring session with Martin Sutton, what an amazing experience, so grateful and ready to face my first exercise. Thank you Martin.
I was going to write “you can’t beat Martin Sutton”, but that would sound all wrong. 🙂 So just saying am very happy with mentor session from Superstar Sutton. Virtual hugs all round.
I am SO totally buzzed that I took the plunge and committed to this program!
l’ll never forget this songwriting experience. I’ve learned so much from everyone. It was great meeting all these talented lovely people
Such a great day enjoyed meeting everyone and learned so much!
Just completed my first mentoring session with Mr Martin Sutton … got direction .. critique ..structure .. ongoing goals and targets …lots of advice and a real motivation boost !!! AWESOME !!!
Feeling so blessed to be a part of this songwriting family! Thank you for creating this wonderful community, a place for us all to be creative, passionate, supportive and talented!
Another incredible mentoring session with Charlie Dore tonight! Really great feedback. So so much to work on and a good challenge but excited to get working on it!
I have had the most amazing mentoring session with Martin Sutton. So inspirational and energizing! Thank you Martin, you Rock!
Great mentoring session with Luc Floreani last night! Really encouraging and so many good tips for upcoming events!
Absolutely brilliant! Informative, fun, engaging, great opportunity to network with like-minded people. Great atmosphere!
10/10 Excellent! Really informative and enjoyable
Just had an amazing mentoring session with Charlie Dore. Great suggestions and inspiration, along the lines of possibly becoming a ‘superwoman’!
Amazing and inspiring to be around wonderful like-minded people who live, breathe and love music like I do
Feeling thoroughly inspired after a mind-blowing chat with Luc Floreani of Floreani Management. So thankful that he’s willing to share his enthusiasm and give me some new ideas.
I also had a great 1:1 session with Charlie Dore. Very helpful practical advice and thoroughly lovely person 🙂
If I hadn’t have come I don’t think I would have believed in myself. you and the course have inspired me and sparked something inside of me to pursue my dream.
When I look back to last April, when I attended TSA’s Introduction to Songwriting, my life has changed immensely for the better
Excellent thought provoking and inspirational